Would you really want to know what your spouse is thinking every single minute of every single day? If someone offered you the super power of being able to be a mind reader, would you take them up on it? At first, it might seem like a great magical power to be able to read other people’s mind. But think for a minute about your own mind. If everyone around you knew what you were really thinking at all times, would you have any friends? And would your spouse still be with you?
Chances are the answer to both of those last two questions is a big fat resounding NO. So why then do you think you can, or do you try to always decipher what your spouse is thinking? Here is a little advice that will make your marital bliss, well…more blissful. STOP TRYING TO READ YOUR SPOUSES MIND! The bottom line is that no matter how long the two of you have been together, or how well you think you know them, you don’t always know what they are thinking. Thoughts, even today in this information age are private.
One of the most important tools in communication that counselors and psychologists will tell you is that you should ‘own’ everything that YOU say. This is especially important if you are married, and are having a conversation or controversy with your spouse. Instead of trying to hint that you know what they are thinking, you should only talk from the “I” point of view. For instance!
- “I know you want to go out with the guys instead of stay home with me!”
- “I think you think that I am not a good father!”
- “I know how you are, and you don’t care that it hurts my feelings.”
- “I know something is bothering you!”
Now for the psychoanalyst style cleaned up statements…
- “It hurts my feelings that you would rather spend time with the guys than with me.”
- “I feel like you are putting down my ability to be a good father!”
- “I feel like you don’t consider my feelings at times!”
- “Are you okay, I sense that you may be upset?”
Basically, you have said the same things without being accusatory or without being so high and mighty that you insinuate you know what your spouse is thinking. Plus, when you approach things verbally like this, your spouse has no reason to be on the defensive and doesn’t feel like they are being attacked. After all, you are entitled to YOUR feelings and YOUR thoughts, but you shouldn’t impose them on other people.
Two other phrases in spousal conversation that are pretty much assured to start an argument are, “You never,” and “ You always.” If you start a conversation with those phrases, you have decidedly started a war, put your spouse on the defensive, and rattled their ego by insinuating that you know everything about them. Sure, spouses (and anyone else) for that matter can have certain habits and patterns of behavior that are easy to predict. But if conversation and communication and ultimately understanding are your goal – these two little phrases will rarely get you there.
You have to wonder why so many people don’t just ask their spouse what they are thinking. “What do you think about me going out with the guys?” “What do you think about me going clothes shopping?” “What do you think about the way this outfit looks on me?” By asking a direct question, like these, that are specific, you are more apt to get a direct answer and be able to pick up on the observational points of conversation that exist between the two of you. And you leave room for honesty.
Additionally, if you are unhappy for any reason in your marriage – you cannot wait for your spouse to read your mind. You cannot do passive aggressive things like withhold sex or act irritated and believe that your spouse will know that you are upset about taking the trash out, or that you never get any help around the house. For one thing, those things are often unrelated. For another, unless you have talked to your spouse about your personal needs, wants, desires and expectations in your marriage – you should assume that they think alternatively to how you do.
Marital expectations often gather up inside up long before we walk down the aisle. And marriage is so different from dating because it is mostly then and only then, that people start fishing their own personal belief systems from the depths of their mind to feed on the relationship. Since these expectations were likely developed while you were growing up, and subject to your personal environment, there is NO WAY in hell that you can expect or even reason that your spouse (or you) should be able to have a clear vision of one another’s thoughts. Not unless you talk about it. A lot!
The sooner you stop trying to read your spouses mind and start communicating with direct conversation, the better off your marriage will be. The tough questions can be hard to ask. What you might find however, is that the answers to your questions are much better when they come directly from your spouse, rather from your imagination.
It is also important to respect the fact that some thoughts are meant to be shared. Which is precisely why you weren’t born a mind reader! Just like you would not want somebody invading your mind, or acting like they know every thought you have – others will not like it either.